Yesterday was #internationalwomensday2021 and I want to share a few experiences of my own on Sexism and the likes and why I wear my feminist cap with no shame..
I grew up very much sheltered and came from a lower income class family headed by my mum; however, I never really lacked; arguably i think i was my grandparents favourite. Due to the nature of my mum’s business I found myself at an all girls boarding school for my JHS. Being at a boarding school gives you some independence; we did everything for ourselves from weeding, scrubbing, washing etc with a carefree attitude too, a few years later I found myself at Sekondi College in an Agric Class with 90% boys and then to the university of Cape Coast Agric class with about 85% being men.
In UCC Agric, there was no ‘real’ difference between the ladies and the gentleman; we walked the same path to the school farm, the physics and chemistry lab was no different. On severally occasions I sat on motorbikes of my mates especially the agric extension guys who were doing top up.
We all spoke pidgin and wore Jeans a lots more than the rest, we were farmers in training afterall. I never experienced any sexism or perceived any of my male counterparts as being misogynistic.
National service really opened my eyes to the inequalities, the subtle sexism and all the other negative vices against women. For instance, in 2017 I attended an interview at a reputable company, the interview panel had three men, and I was asked; how many kids do you have? I had two then, so I told them after which a panelist asked me; are you done having kids? I boldly said NO and another said to my dismay! I think you should go and finish the baby making project after which you can move on. I was shattered, angry and confused? How does having kids affects my competency?
At another time at a former work place, we had a general staff meeting and someone was needed to take minutes, immediately everyone looked at my direction; mind you they were all men. So I retorted, am I the only one with hands here? some of the comments were but you are the lady here blah blah blah. I conveniently complained of fatigue and headache and took a rain cheque on the meeting and guess what the handwritten minutes ended on my desk to be typed, my only offence was being a woman and that was supposed to be my ‘job’.
Again at another meeting my direct supervisor who happened to be a woman asked me to serve water to my colleagues, I had had enough, there too I disappeared from the meeting. Only this time I was verbally queried, in my defence I said serving water was not part of my job description and that was how my working relationship with the said supervisor deteriorated until we both exited. In all this, I was targeted because I was a woman. I recall at a later date at lunch time during an argument, a male colleague said in twi ; Obaa di33 ewose wobre wo ho hye obema asi, enti wo di nsuo baa nanka enye hwee ( literally translated as, as a woman, you have to humble yourself to serve a man; referring to the water serving incident. So I also said to him, go and read your bible well; God said woman submit yourself unto your own husband, are you my husband? Total silence followed and that is how I was labelled a rebel.
I sat in a Taxi at 3rd Gate to Adenta and i was the second person at the back seat. I had positioned myself at the door with another gentleman at the opposite side. A third gentleman shows up and he said I should move to the middle seat so he occupies the door side. I just didn’t understand his reasoning, bottom line he is a man so he has to occupy that place incase of an accident ! How was that reasonable? The driver even agreed with him, a ‘stubborn’ me wont budge so I paid for the third seat and we left. I am sure I got insulted in thier heads of course!
My point is why is my being a woman become a disadvantage? As if I decided on my own to be a woman.
In my quest to find answers; one thing stands out, we as women should strive to get an education and strive to be more, break the stereotypes and biases towards us and while at it, maybe our men will give thier full support but until then…
On a rather lighter note, woman make money, it stops all the nonsense; after all the bible said Money answereth ALL things!
Yours truly, Nana Esi